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Southern Illinois Research Park Wins $50,000 Growth Accelerator Award from SBA to Support Women Entrepreneurs

Nationally, SBA Awards $3 Million to Accelerators and Incubators in 39 States and Territories
Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

CHICAGO – The Southern Illinois Research Park is one of 60 accelerators and incubators that have won a U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2019 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition award. Its $50,000 award is part of $3 million the federal agency allocated across 39 states and territories to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations, company formation, and awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Notably, the prizes are not for direct investing in the entrepreneurs’ small businesses.

“SBA’s $50,000 award to supplement the Southern Illinois Research Park’s training budget is geared to provide focused assistance for specific entrepreneurial groups,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “In turn, we aim to increase the pipeline of future SBIR/STTR applications and STEM-related innovations that will continue to advance this country and revitalize communities.”

The Southern Illinois Research Park is a nonprofit organization affiliated with Southern Illinois University Carbondale, serving the needs of university spin-outs and emerging/expanding technology-based organizations south of Interstate 64. Its mission is to establish and support an environment to foster innovation, commercialize university discoveries, and advance entrepreneurship and economic development within SIU and throughout the region.

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with the U.S. Small Business Administration on our Growth Accelerator program for the region,” said Lynn Andersen Lindberg, executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park. “The award funds will allow us to build upon successful business development and technology entrepreneurship programs and engage more individuals and entrepreneurs in STEM-related research innovations and start-up activities in Southern Illinois.”

Dr. Deborah Barnett, associate director of the Research Park, will serve as the day-to-day manager and primary trainer for the program.

“Although Illinois is not an underrepresented state as it relates to SBIR/STTR funding, the southernmost part of the state has not had the same success,” Barnett said. “The SBA Growth Accelerator Fund will be instrumental to changing this.”

This year’s award recipients are to focus at least 60% of their Competition-related work on entrepreneurs who are either women; socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; in states that receive less than 50% of the total annual SBIR/STTR funding; or in an Opportunity Zone.

Expert panels with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, and academic backgrounds from the public and private sector judged the approximately 200 applications for Growth Accelerator awards by reviewing each applicant’s brief presentation deck and optional two-minute video outlining the organization’s overall approach, experience working with the targeted entrepreneur group, and key evaluation metrics for the proposed plan.


About the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

A total of $3 million was appropriated to be awarded as prizes to accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, or other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. Each $50,000 prize provides operational funding to the awardee for their work in supporting startup businesses. The Competition was conducted by SBA pursuant to the government wide prize competition authority known as the America COMPETES Act (15 U.S.C. 3719).  Additional information including a full list of award winners past and present can be found at and


SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provides more than $3.7 billion in early stage seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Eleven participating federal government agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.  Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more visit